Tuesday, June 23, 2009

There are moments

Matt has been gone for two weeks now. The grind of holding up a household, two jobs and two kids is hard, and some days it is just too much. Tonight, as I flopped onto the couch for what should have been the first moment of relaxation in my day, I was struck by the fact that tomorrow, I get to do it all over again. It literally took my breath away for a moment.

The kids are having an awesome summer, however. Thea is starting to add more words to her repertoire, expanding beyond doh (dog) cah (cat) and NONONONONO (no) to include new things every day. Last night, I was looking for something in the fridge and I said "There it is," and she repeated it back to me, exactly. She is also really into those picture books where you point to things and get the word. Stocking up her pretty little head with all that need-to-know information.

On Saturday, we went to a summer solstice party at a friend's house and Thea got bit by a dog in the hand. I don't know exactly what happened because there was a table between her and I when it happened, but it broke the skin. Auntie Santa fixed her up pretty well, getting in there with antiseptic soap and a bandaid right away. What amazed me the most about it - and I've seen this before - is how brave Thea was after that. It's like it doesn't faze her. She wasn't shy around dogs that night at all - she didn't get upset when Samantha was messing with her hand - it was like she was upset for a minute, and then she was completely over it. Awesome. The dog's person, however, was still apologizing hours later.

Liam's long lost buddy, Oskar, came back for a month on Sunday. He lives in Oregon now, but he and his mom are staying up here for July so she can finish a project. He's going to Kachemak Kids with Liam and we are pretty excited about it all. Liam said he was really happy to have Oskar to play with, as there is a girl there who has been insisting he play with her. Ah, the dynamics of the 5-year-old's social scene.

I'd better get to bed - tomorrow is fast approaching and I've got to be ready. Or as ready as I can be.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

soccer, loose teeth and summer mahem

I have to let the photos do the talking on this post, because my hands are too tired to type very much. This weekend was crazy - and yet, when I look at my accomplishments, they seem so modest. But my body says otherwise. This weekend I tackled the pushki patch in our back yard, and covered it with a garden - or at least the beginning of it. It's going to be a lot of work and it's only just starting, but I'm going to get there, and it's going to look great.

The past two weeks have been full of big firsts. First was the tooth - Liam got his first loose tooth, and rather than be freaked out by it, he was fine about it - excited even. I thought for sure it would be out by now, but instead, it is hanging in there. I have a bit of a problem with loose teeth. I don't know why, but they gross me out. But I'm being supportive - and keeping my finger-nails-on-chalk-board responses to myself.

Then, we had the soccer experience. I was a little worried about this one, but it was totally unfounded. First day, Liam balked at putting on the soccer shirt, but we got past that, then he went out on the field and met coach with 30 or so other little kids. The coach started right in with a loud coachy-type yell. "OKTHEREAREALOTOFKIDSOUTHERESOHERE'SHOWIT'SGOINGTOGO ..WHENISAYSSITYOUAREGOINGTOSIT...OKSIT.

I thought for sure Liam was going to be trying to climb back inside me in a matter of minutes, but I couldn't have been more wrong. He loved it. He sat. He put his hand up. At the end, I asked him what he thought of the coach.

"Well, Coach was kind of dramatic," he said. Oh god, I could have died laughing.

I took a bunch of photos of the soccer fun and posted them online on my web site at http://www.wordworksshop.com/soccerpics/index.html

But I am so happy that he enjoyed his first sportish experience. It's very good news, because he has a lot of energy these days. Last week, we went to a birthday party at a local track and he biked around it enough times to cover 4 or 5 miles - seriously. He was the first in his peer group to ride sans training wheels, so he was riding that high, but still. That's a lot of ground. Today, we went out on the spit and biked about 3 miles - Thea in stroller, me on blades and him on the bike. Good stuff. And topped it all off with a Glacier Burger just to balance things out, of course.

Last week was Thea's first week of full-time daycare. It was a little rough at times, like the day she fell asleep in the high chair during lunch and then wouldn't go down for another nap - can you say train wreck? But generally, she loves Nikki's. She just needs to sleep in a bit longer. The 5:30-6 a.m. trend continues. However, I'm hoping that kicking the dogs out will help, since they often wake up around 6 and perpetuate the problem. We'll see if my theory holds.

This also meant the first week that Liam had a day home with me all to himself. He couldn't have been more happy - pulled his guys out into the living room and had a set up for hours while I caught up on graphics work. Then he had a friend over in the afternoon and that was a thrill, too. "Do you mean Thea will be gone the whole time Nora is here, too?" "Yes" "WOW! Mom, this is the best day ever."

Pretty strong words given that his Dad was leaving that night for a fire assignment - the first out-of-towner of the year, although he's certainly been gone plenty already this year. Liam seems to be holding up pretty well. Me? Well, I muttered a few words today when the toilet backed up as I was leaving to do the grocery shopping with a cranky child, but otherwise, it is what it is. And it is summer - go big or go to someplace without 18 hours of daylight.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

summer 2009

We went to a wedding yesterday at the golf course, where Matt and I got married - so sunny and warm, it didn't feel like Homer at all. And not one parent remembered to bring sunscreen so we all cooked - sigh.

Thea put on a show as always, while Liam disappeared with several friends, including his old buddy from Raspberry Lane 2008, Piper, who is at McNeil Canyon now.

Last week, we had a sunny day that was actually warm enough to pull out the kiddie pool. Of course, I had to fill it with warm water from inside as our water comes from a well and is VERY cold, but they were in there for about a half hour before they started to turn blue, so I'd call that a success.

Oh, no, not another writer.

Thea enjoys eating her bubble bath.

Liam and Matt sharing a story.

The after-Thea-goes-to-bed pirate battle.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The passage of time

10 years ago Friday I met Matt on the Mansfield Road Fire in Homer. The story of how we met and later got to know one and other is pretty much out there, but the date's arrival did cause me to get smacked hard by the passage of time. I know everyone says time passes fast, especially when you have kids, etc., etc. But 10 years? A decade? Really?

It made me think a lot about how my life has evolved. If I had met myself now 10 years ago, what would I have said? It raises lots of questions - was leaving journalism the right thing to do, for example? Ten-years-ago Carey would probably have keeled over at the notion of leaving a successful editor position. On the other hand, is journalism even going to be here 10 years from now? Or will blogs and instant messages become defined as news?

And what about the type of parent I am - would I have approved of that if 10-years-ago Carey came to hang out for the day? I think I would have been surprised at the fact that we've only been camping twice, that I rarely leave Homer. 10 years ago, I loved nothing more than a good road trip, and that's still the case, only it is infinitely more complicated - pack food, diapers, supplies, entertainment options ... you know the drill.

And what about the next 10 years - what do I want to do? Is the graphic and web design business I am now building fulfilling? Should I jump off a cliff and do something like go get a law degree in a couple years once Thea gets more independent? What about art? Photography? A graphic design degree? Web design? Take up the pen again? Try to finish that blasted book ( I have to do that anyway, just so I can say I tried.) Try to write another, maybe nonfiction?

How bout my parenting style - what can I do to help Liam and Thea move through life with relative success? Less sugar, more structure? Less structure, more sugar? It is truly exhausting to try to adjust one's parenting style, that is for sure. Because it takes so much work just doing what comes naturally, let alone having to think about your responses.

We are blessed with so many options in our lives - really. Sometimes it doesn't seem that way when you have your head down, plodding through life's daily routine. But once in a while, something comes along that causes us to pause, and hopefully realign your priorities for a long-term plan that suits where you are now.

And actually, when I think about it, 10-years-ago Carey would probably have been pretty OK with where I am now - surprised, but OK. The next 10 years? Who on earth knows. But hopefully I'll be standing in an equally sturdy place, where the smack from the passage of time leaves me upright.